Temple's Young healthy, will play vs. Houston

INQUIRER STAFF WRITER

Temple senior cornerback Tavon Young, who missed Saturday' 27-3 win over visiting Connecticut with an undisclosed injury, will be ready for Saturday's American Athletic Conference noon championship game at Houston.

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Tavon Young has 40 tackles this season.

"Tavon will play and is expected to be 100 percent," Temple coach Matt Rhule said during Monday's AAC call with reporters.

Young and Sean Chandler have been a strong cornerback duo. This season Young has 40 tackles and seven pass breakups.

Artrel Foster and Nate Hairston saw more action on Saturday at corner in place of Young.

Temple senior receiver John Christopher, who was sidelined last week with a foot injury, is less certain.

"We are not sure about him," Rhule said.

Technically Young and Christopher got credit for playing because Rhule had them on the field for the final snap of the game.

"We put them out there for the final play so that they would be able to say they played on senior day," Rhule had said on Saturday.

Center Kyle Friend, who has missed the last four games with a knee injury, will also be sidelined against Houston, according to Rhule.

Friend, who returned to practice in a limited role last week, hopes to play in Temple's bowl game.

Much at stake

The winner of the AAC title game will likely earn a trip to either the Peach Bowl, Dec. 31 in Atlanta, or the Fiesta Bowl, Jan. 1 in Glendale, Arizona. As part of the College Football Playoff agreement, the top ranked non-Power Five conference team in the final College Football Playoff Ranking is guaranteed a trip this year into either one of these bowl games.

The bowl game schedule will be announced on Sunday.

The next CFP ranking is Tuesday. The American Athletic Conference has the only non-Power Five teams in this week's AP and USA Today Coaches polls. Houston is ranked 17/18 while Temple is 20-21 and Navy, which lost last week to Houston, is 22/22.

Matakevich honors

Temple linebacker Tyler Matakevich was named the AAC Defensive player of the Week on Monday. Matakevich had 11 tackles, 11/2 tackles for loss and half a sack in the Owls' 27-3 win over Connecticut that clinched the AAC East Division.

It was the fourth time this season and fifth in his career that Matakevich has earned this honor.

He remains the only Football Bowl Championship player to lead his team in tackles every game this season.

mnarducci@phillynews.com

@sjnard